Today I got to ride Trixie again, and was able to ride her at a trotting speed without holding on! This was also in the larger corral (I’m not sure exactly what those rings are called), where Trixie more naturally wanted to go faster with the additional space. This required much focus on maintaining a strong core – that exercise ball sitting is paying off even more! Not to mention allowing myself to enjoy it. Sounds strange, having to allow yourself to enjoy something…
As I learned before, horses are both fearful and playful and I feel that my relationship with these animals is making that same shift. I was amused at how big Trixie’s butt was, and also that she has this beautiful reddish brown tail. It kind of whacked me (gently) when I was cleaning her hooves.
The big shift I was able to make today was understanding the rhythm that the horse moves in, and getting myself into a rhythm in terms of guiding (or attempting to, at least) her as well. That is, you start by squeezing in with your legs/feet, turn with the reins and your leg, let go, squeeze in with your legs again, and the steps continue. When I got nervous about being too close to the fence though, I would go into turtle mode and start looking at Trixie instead of the area in front of us. Not that great of an idea, but it’s freaking me out a little less and less each time.
I’m getting more comfortable with petting/caressing/thanking the horses rather than worry about them kicking me (that’s still a concern but might as well lean over to the fun side, right?). Speaking of leaning, my instructor today asked me what “horse” is in Vietnamese. It’s spelled “ngua” and I won’t even try to explain how to pronounce it on here. What’s interesting is that that word also means to lean… so there’s this leaning in that’s taking place for me here.
Brene Brown talks about leaning into the discomfort. This is uncomfortable but in such a positive, fun, life-giving way I still don’t know what exactly is happening but am literally enjoying the ride.